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Modernizing legacy mainframes
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Modernizing legacy mainframes

Could the world’s most successful businesses be stuck in the IT dark ages? What is it going to take to bring the system up-to-date with modern IT expectations.

According to a Accenture recently released a report, more than 70% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies run their business-critical applications on mainframes, which lie at the heart of their data centres. 

They offer security and computing power but many mainframes have technology or architecture limitations, high maintenance cost, and heavy technical debt that slows agility. 

Mainframes are now becoming a means to an ending in the overall cloud migration process.

When Accenture surveyed IT executives in Australia and New Zealand, 66% stated that the high cost of operations posed a challenge to their organisation’s strategic IT initiatives. More than half (61%) of respondents also noted that people with the right skillsets to manage mainframes are scarce, and 59%  said that mainframes are not flexible or adaptable.

These challenges will increase the complexity of mainframe management in the coming years. 93% of respondents plan to migrate to the cloud within the next two to five year.

Modernization brings benefits such as greater integration with other platforms (93%) and more application agility (60%), ability to adopt new programming language (47%), lower maintenance costs and time spent (47%), among other benefits.

Accenture’s A/NZ mainframe modernisation lead, managing director, Al Auda, explains, “Although A/NZ companies are making progress in modernising their mainframes, it’s not happening fast enough. Half of the organisations surveyed are only in early stages of their mainframe-to-cloud modernisation initiative while a mere 16% have completed or are nearing completion of migration.”

Auda points to the fact that mainframe modernization requires cloud development expertise. This includes cloud solution architecture, application modernisation, DevOps, and cloud solution architecture.

Mainframes are still essential workhorses for many modern businesses. However, organisations must modernise mainframes to continue providing support for organisations’ short and long term IT strategies.

Accenture also shares the Framework 6 RThis document outlines the steps to successful mainframe modernisation.

RetainRestore its usefulness, fix any problems, and move development and testing environments to a cloud infrastructure in order to increase agility and decrease costs.

Replace with a package (including commercial-off-the-shelf [COTS]SaaS) to improve functionality, extract and migrate data to reduce complexity.

RehostTo gain cost savings without the risk of programming language changes, you can move to a cheaper location.

Re-platformYou can switch to another platform/operating system without changing the programming language and allow applications to run in cloud.

RefactorLegacy code to a modern programming languages, using semi-automated software to reduce risk related to legacy skills, increase agility, and lower costs.

ReimagineDomain-driven Design is used to rewrite applications to support modern business processes.

Read the full Mainframe modernisation – from legacy to cloud report here.

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